I Lied

This post was supposed to to contain information about a process called Photo Gravure, but It's not going to. 

Instead it will talk about Hardground. What is hard ground? Before this is answered, you need to know what  a Ground is. 


            "Etching is a general word meaning that acid was used to incise the plate. In making an etching, the plate is first coated with an acid-resistant material called a ground. The names of the various types of etchings come from the types of grounds used. Hard ground and soft ground are used to make lines, and an aquatint ground is used for tones. Grounds for line drawing are usually made of wax." Crown Point Press

The image to the left is of a copper plate coated with a hard ground and it has been drawn into with an etching needle. 

Over the Last week and a half, I have been trying to find a less-toxic hard ground that works as well as the toxic stuff. Here is what I've found so far:

It must be noted that New Grounds currently uses Pledge Floor Polish with Blue food coloring as the ground. It is applied using the flow method. With this method, the plate is placed in a plastic container and the hard ground is poured over it and the excess ground is funneled back into the container. It provides a very even and thin coating. 

The internet provided me with many options to begin testing the first of which was the BIG . This has been my favorite so far, but I have only used it on a small plate. The ground comes in black and red; the black for the first etch and the red for any subsequent etches after you have taken off the black. The black ground provides an impeccable drawing surface because it is opaque. the bonus to this hard ground is that it functions as a soft ground as well. I rolled up the plate with the ground similarly to how I would roll ink on to a relief plate. For the BIG to dry, it must be heated. I used a cardboard box with a hair dryer for 10 minutes and it worked perfectly. 

FINAL PRODUCT:    Our first home at Atkins

FINAL PRODUCT:    Our first home at Atkins

The next ground I tried was a combination of GAC 200 and india ink. Multiple recipes came up on the internet, but none with specific measurements. I spent an entire day trying to find the right combination to make this ground work and I could not figure it out. So if you're reading this and you know, contact me please. :) Here are images from that experiment. I did find that the GAC makes it very hard to get off of the copper. 

The next combination I tried is very similar to what New Grounds already uses. I mixed the black india ink with the Pledge floor polish. The Black of the india ink makes it show up more than the blue of the other mixture. also, I use a hair dryer to dry the ground and its ready to draw on within a minute or so. This ground is very nice because it can be easily removed and applied very quickly. DANGER: if applied to thick, it will chip off with the etching needle. It takes a few practice runs to get use to the right thickness. Also, I like this mixture because it can be applied with a reusable foam brush and that cuts down the application time a lot. It takes the hassle out of having to clean and funnel the excess back into the container. I store it in the above plastic jar. 

To create the mixture I used hard science. I poured some floor polish into the jar. then drop by drop I added the india ink until it was dark enough to see when painted onto a piece of paper. I plan on finding a specific measurement because its frustrating having to guess at the correct amount. 

I have a few more recipes to try out and will post them when I do. 


My parents came to visit and we went hiking! 


The Opening Reception of the Desert Triangle Carpeta took place at the First Saturday Art Crawl. Check out that link- it has images of all of the pieces. 

I'll be posting some new work i've made soon! As soon as I get photographs of it. 



New Grounds Printmaking Work Shop: learning less-toxic printing methods

Hello all! 

Over the next two months, I would like to share the ins and outs of Fine Art Printmaking Shop-Life. In this particular writing, I am going to address what New Grounds Printmaking Workshop is, my role here, and what has been done over the past two weeks. The future posts will keep you up to date on what I learn and the day to day life of printing. 

Here are pictures of the beautiful Albuquerque aka ABQ


WHAT IS NEW GROUNDS ? "New Grounds was one of the first, if not the first, completely non-toxic professional print workshops in the world. In business for more than 20 years, it is an internationally recognized institution dedicated to providing artists with press access, classes, exhibition opportunities and other printmaking related services. "  more can be found here

Main Studio sporting Takach machinery 

Main Studio sporting Takach machinery 

AKUA INKS- Water Based Inks.

AKUA INKS- Water Based Inks.

WHATS MY ROLE AT NEW GROUNDS ?  I'm an Intern! Which includes doing everything. I clean, open up the business during business hours, participate in workshops, help teach workshops, research, and use the facilities for my own art. In two weeks, I've done all of these things. Its fast paced and there is a strong learning curve and I LOVE IT. 




Another intern! Her name is Holland and she is a very talented printmaker! Here is a picture of her in her natural habitat: hiking.

WHAT'S TAKEN PLACE IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS?  Upon arriving I was oriented on the workings of the shop, got my keys, and mopped the floors all in the same day. 

3 days later the Monotype workshop began. 

What's a Monotype? It's a way to use painterly techniques to create a unique, one-time-only, print on paper. 

Below are some shots of our workshop and subsequent prints.

Monotype by Edgar Degas

Monotype by Edgar Degas

Holland and I worked for days after the workshop practicing and processing Monotypes. The consensus between us at first was that we would much rather be creating etchings. 

iceland landscape

iceland landscape

However after several days of creating the painterly prints, I became excited about the prospects of combining monotypes with etchings. It's a beautiful way to add color to the delicate line-work etching enables.  I plan on creating an etching of the details of this landscape to complete it. 

The next post will discuss Photo Gravure on polymer plates - a process entirely new to me as well. 


- Hillary

New Work

Showing love to New Orleans, Barcelona, and Louisiana with these new watercolors. Stay tuned for more.

Merry Christmas and Holy-Moly-its-a-New Year

(I can't believe it's December. 

It has been 7 months since I graduated college, 6 months since I went to Catalonia, 3 months since I started my new job and got engaged, and now I am blogging about it. Finally posting these images has come about because of my recent frustrations with not making art. I have been so wrapped up settling into this new season of my life that I used the excuse of "I'm too tired" to make anything. At first, I was ok with this, but recently it's been eating away at me. So i've decided to start the creative process again by making a motivational poster (seen right), getting my work out there, and making this list of things I'm interested in exploring in 2015 (seen below in quote form) . 

more painting
artist statement
photography-digital for now
develop a relationship with printmakers
healthy competition
get an exhibition
read art books
blog more

I went to the residency with a very loose plan for what I wanted to make. The proposal for my project was that I wanted to visit a land I had never been to in order to explore it and create art that speaks of place. I wanted to bring Catalonia to people who may never get to experience it. 

The first piece, Arenys de Mar, is a landscape abstracted by using textures in place of trees, buildings, and water. The textures are drawings based off of living things that I found while exploring. Cork tree, fish scales, vines, and unknown little plants are some of the things I encountered. I chose these things because I either encountered them everyday, or they were specific to the region I stayed in. Either way they spoke to me about place and home-even if it's not my home.  

The second piece is called Hills of Arenys de Munt. It's based off a photo I took of a scene I saw everyday on my walk into town. It is a hillside that has been washed away from rain and wind, exposing the roots of the local plants. I soft grounded plants from my hosts' flower bed onto the plate. I love the idea of archiving actual plants onto something as permanent as copper. It's as if I created my own fossil that will last forever, or until the copper is melted down or the paper breaks down. The tone in the background was created from mixing earth with the etching acid, and spit biting the plate with this acid-mud. Using actual earth to create the tone of the earth in my drawing is a parallel I really enjoy. I also soaked paper with the etching acid to make area specific tone which can be seen in the triangular shapes.

The last piece is of the creepers that dead vines leave behind. These little feet have so much personality and leave a history of vines that once were. These little pieces of plant fascinated me and they were everywhere in the house I stayed at. I wanted to replicate the little vine feet and the texture of the rusted wall with all of its texture and little quirky marks and scratches. It allowed me to observe and appreciate something ordinary that people walk by everyday and may never notice. I wanted to capture a segment of this and preserve it for everyone to see. 

Thanks for reading and I'd love some feedback, 



2 Months Later...

Here is a small blog post because I haven't made one in a long time. A lot has happened. 

1st. I got an amazing job teaching Talented Art in Caddo Parish! It is even more wonderful than I expected. I get to teach a wide variety of ages- 2nd grade to 12th grade.

2nd. I got engaged to the wonderful Michael Savage- a handsome magician/musician extraordinaire. 

3rd. I am now settled into my apartment and plan to begin making work soon. I am very excited about this. Another thing I am excited to do is open my package of prints from Art Print. I've had them bundled up and I can't wait to open them! 

pictures to come soon. 

The End

I've been back in the States for a few days recuperating from an interesting trip home that consisted of me almost leaving my prints on the train and almost missing my flight to America because of plane delays. 

I can't believe i'm home doing what I normally do after having such an amazing experience in Catalonia. It seems like it went by so fast.  

Here is a summary of my last days at Art Print

here is a not-that-great photo of my big print that I made. It is an abstracted landscape of the view of Arenys de Mar from my apartment room. It was a beautiful view of the town and the sea. I filled it with patterns and textures that I experienced during my trip. There are drawings of cork tree, another tree that I am still trying to find the name of, fish scales, ivy, and a mixture of little plants that filled the space between tiles on my porch.

Soon I will post edited images of the work I made.

Above are images of my trip to the Miró Foundation in Barcelona. It was located in the beautiful Montjuic park in the South Western part of BCN.  The tapestry was by far my favorite piece in the museum. It was an incredible scale and the variety of textures and different layers achieved by weaving the fabric is unlike anything I have seen before. 

On the last day, another family came to visit Art Print for two weeks. They are the High family from Austin, Texas! It was incredible to talk with Tim High, a screen printing professor at UT, about the different processes of printmaking and art in general. His wife and daughter, Cynthia and Anaka(?), were also very wonderful individuals to chat with about art and life. I really hate that we only got to spend a day together, but I must say that we really clicked in that short amount of time and I learned several things that I would not have if I had never met them. Here is some of Tim's Work. This is a screen print! 

Photo from www.timhigh.com

Photo from www.timhigh.com

Overall what I value most from my experience is not in the work I made while I was there, It is the knowledge about the process and printing technique, about traveling and planning, and about the valuable friendships and acquaintances made. These things are priceless to me and I loved every second of learning that happened while I was there.



If you have any questions of comments about my trip, feel free to contact me through email and I would love to discuss them with you! 

Paella Party

Welp! I'm done printing. Today was my last day in the shop making work, tomorrow I will go to pack my prints for traveling home. It has been an exhausting last three days because I printed all day, everyday. I'm physically drained, but mentally I am filled with joy from this experience. 

As promised, here are pictures of us eating paella. It was a wonderful lunch with Jordi and Clàudia. We chatted and laughed even though I don't speak Catalonian well and they don't speak english well. Correction, Jordi's english is pretty good. 

Paella is basically like Jumbalaya or gumbo. It had various meats and seafood in it. yum yum yum.

Yesterday Jordi invited me to go to Barcelona with him to deliver a handmade book and to attend an exhibition of an artist that has worked at Art Print Residency. We delivered the book and then he took me to see Sagrada Familia and other Gaudi buildings. We also went into a design store called Vinçon where I bought Martha Hartwell, my best friend, a birthday gift. :D   

Today, and the last three days, I printed. Here is some visual material of that. There are also photos of the shop friends that come throughout the week. 

da da da daaaaa. the big press.

da da da daaaaa. the big press.

The masters operating the big press

The masters operating the big press

pulling the print

pulling the print

here is a preview

here is a preview

that's all for today. I'm going to bed. 



What is Intaglio Etching?

Some of you may not know what I am even doing in Spain. Here is a definition from the internet. 

from Wikipedia

Intaglio (/ɪnˈtæli./ in-tal-ee-oh) is the family of printing and printmakingtechniques in which the image is incised into a surface, and the incised line or sunken area holds the ink.[1] It is the direct opposite of a relief print.

Normally, copper or zinc plates are used as a surface or matrix, and the incisions are created by etchingengravingdrypointaquatint or mezzotint.[2] Collagraphsmay also be printed as intaglio plates.[3

tomorrow I hope to create and post a stop-motion video of the inking and printing process. 

While this trip to Spain has been fun, it has also been a lot of hard work. I wake up everyday at 8 and go to the print shop at 9 only to work non stop until 5. I take a 10 minute lunch break to eat a sandwich. By the end of the day I am totally beat and usually type a blog post and cook dinner and go to bed. Sometimes I walk to the store, or in yesterday's case- the beach. The weekends are free so that leaves me to go explore the city or the mountains-or both. 

Of the 14 days that I will be here, 10 of them were spent in the print shop. Of those 10 days, 8 of them were spent creating the plates used to make an edition of prints.

When creating a plate, one must first polish with three kinds of sandpaper and then two kinds of buffer polish. The edges must be filed perfectly as well. Then the design may be applied through a variety of methods that include etching, aquatint, engraving, drypoint, mezzotint, and photo etching.  

After doing all of this to three plates I have 2 days to make 3 editions of prints. yikes. I may have gotten ahead of myself, but we shall see. My goal is for each edition to contain 10 prints. This means I will have 30 prints total. I have only made 4. I have 26 left to make in 16 hours. Lots of numbers. After seeing the hours I have I am going to have to make my editions smaller in order to finish. 

This experience has taught me so many things about printmaking and also about planning. I think it is one of the most beneficial experiences for me as an artist and as a professional. I definitely have learned what to do and what not to do in all realms of traveling, being organized, and art making. 

orange juice and my sketch book

orange juice and my sketch book

Yesterday I discovered I have a juicer in my kitchen. I also have a bag of 12 oranges. Now I will be making orange juice everyday. It only takes 2 oranges to make a full glass, and this juice tastes nothing like what store bought orange juice tastes like. This is sweet and delicious where store bought is tangy and delicious but less so than home made.